Top 10 running backs in the NFL

Alongside my series breaking down my rankings for each team in the NFL, I will also begin a series detailing the top 10 of each position in the NFL starting with the quarterback.


Honorable Mentions:



Miles Sanders:

Sanders exploded onto the scene during the end of last season when Jordan Howard went down with injury. In weeks 10-16 he had 98 yards per game and 4 touchdowns. He was definitely one of the most exciting rookie to watch last year. He has yet to make the jump to being a star back though. I believe that he will, but I can’t justify putting him in the top 10 just yet, but after this season I might.


Todd Gurley:

It would be unfair to not put Gurley on this list. The man played like an MVP two years in a row. One bad year shouldn’t put him off the list. He has the ability to play better, (especially if the Atlanta offense puts more of a focus on him) so he at least deserves the honorable mention.


Chris Carson:

Carson has been a considerably underrated running back in the past two years. He put up 1,496 scrimmage yards and 9 touchdowns last year. However, he is definitely not on the same level as the other running backs on this list. He has a rather low yards per carry of 4.4. Much of his stats come from just being the focal point of the Seahawks run game. I’m not trying to dismiss his skill, but he is definitely not the game changing back others on this list are.


Now, the top 10:


Number 10: Joe Mixon

Mixon has been great in the past few years despite running behind an awful offensive line. Last year was a little less productive than 2018, but he still put up 1,424 scrimmage yards and 8 touchdowns. He has been one of the least fumble prone players in the NFL for the past two years as he has no recorded fumbles in that time. With a hopefully better team in the next few years, expect Joe Mixon to put up great stats.


Number 9: Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones just finished a fantastic breakout year under new coach Matt LaFleur. He lead the NFL in total touchdowns with 19. He also had 1,558 scrimmage yards last year. Though he had considerably less yards per carry this year (4.6) than the 2 years prior, (5.5) he is still a top 10 running back based off of overall production.


Number 8: Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs just finished what I think was a rookie of the year season. Though the voters disagree, his talent is undeniable. He is higher than players such as Joe Mixonor Aaron Jones due to his potential. In 13 games, Jacobs recorded 1,150 yards on the ground game plus 7 rushing touchdowns on 4.8 yards per carry. If he gets more active in the passing game, he could be a deadly back.


Number 7: Nick Chubb

Last season, Chubb put the Browns offense on his back with 1,494 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns on 5.0 yards per carry. Carries will most likely go down with an improving Baker Mayfield and new coach Kevin Stefanski, so he might not be as dangerous of a fantasy player. Still, he is an incredible runner.


Number 6: Alvin Kamara

Kamara had a down year, but I don’t think he got worse as a player. Kamara completely missed 2 games, and he was not playing fully healthy during the 14 games that he did play, but he still managed to record 1,330 scrimmage yards and 6 touchdowns. When he is playing healthy, he is an incredible talent. Expect a return-to-glory year next season for Kamara.



Number 5: Dalvin Cook

In the 14 games that Cook played, he got 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. His 519 yards receiving made him a very versatile back. Before he got hurt, he was playing like an MVP. Injuries have been a concern for Cook since he came in the league, but when he is healthy, he is an unstoppable force. He deserves to be number 5 on this list, but I’m not so sure he deserves the 15 million he wants to be paid.


Number 4: Ezekiel Elliot

With the Cowboys focusing more on their passing attack, Zeke had a career low 84.8 ypg. Though this number would be a good stat for most backs, it was a worst for Zeke. He is still a top 4 running back though, as he still has the ability to take over games. I wouldn’t be worried about Zeke’s skill. He put up 1,357 yards last year and 12 touchdowns. He was still a decent passing option as he had 420 yards in the receiving game. I considered putting him over Derrick Henry because of his receiving skill, but I opted not to due to Henry’s dominant end-of-season performance that helped lunge the Titans to the AFC Championship game.


Number 3: Derrick Henry

Speaking of Derrick Henry, he is my 3rd best running back. He might actually be the best pure running back in the league with his freakish size, strength, vision, and surprising speed. The reason he is not higher than Barkley and McCaffrey is because of his limitations in the passing game. Though he led the league in rushing yards, he only put up 206 yards in the receiving game. Being a versatile back is more and more important in today’s passing league. He just doesn’t possess that skill.


Number 2: Saquan Barkley

While missing 3 games due to a high ankle sprain, he still managed to pass 1,000 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. Add in another 438 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns, and he had one of the best seasons by a running back. But, the news headlines weren’t focusing as much on his performance, but his insane recovery. He could have been sidelined for up to 8 weeks, but was back in just 3. People were blown away by his superhuman recovery. Now, I won’t rule out the possibility of him actually going to Wakanda to recover as he said, but I would be willing to bet he was just playing injured. There was a noticeable decline in production during the games directly following his injury. I think this makes his season more impressive because of his toughness even when playoffs seemed impossible.



Number 1: Christian McCaffrey

This is such an obvious pick that if anyone doesn’t have McCaffrey as number 1, they need their brain checked. He put up 1,387 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns  on 4.8 yards per carry. Yes, 4.8 yards per carry behind the panthers below average offensive line. That isn’t even his most impressive stat. He managed to reel in 1,005 receiving yards with 4 receiving touchdowns. He is truly a spectacular talent.

What do you think? Comment Below!

25 views7 comments

An Underage sports journal for students of the game

© 2020 by The Up Dawg

  • f2ea1ded4d037633f687ee389a571086-youtube
  • reddit-logo
  • discord-512
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Share Your Views on the Sports World